Why Can’t I Quit You, Facebook?

There has been quite a bit of hubbub about Facebook lately, particularly about the arrogant attitude towards privacy and user data. Yes, Facebook sucks, and has managed to steadily increase its suckitude over the past few years. But even with the calls for quitting Facebook, many of us still linger (myself included).

Why?

Staying connected to friends: There are people in my life I’d lose contact with completely if I left Facebook. I like having an ambient awareness of what they’re up to and what they’re working on. These people don’t have blogs, twitter feeds or utilize other ways for me to connect with them socially online. So for right now, I don’t have a good replacement for Facebook for this purpose.

Keeping up with Facebook itself: My consulting clients’ communications strategies almost always include Facebook. I have to be a Facebook native in order to speak intelligently about it and have a grasp on its ins and outs. If I leave Facebook entirely, my intimate understanding of the user experience will weaken and eventually fade entirely. Setting up a fake profile wouldn’t give me the same ability to learn the subtle nuances, specifically the ways in which Facebook connects users to one another, to brands, to services, and to the web.

So what to do?

Give Facebook as little information about yourself as possible: Zuckerberg and crew do not need to know your address, your cell phone number, your favorite books or your relationship status. If all you want to do is find old friends, keep education info simply to find former classmates. Otherwise, get all of the irrelevant details out of your profile and lock your profile down. Don’t install applications (yes, this means Farmville, Mafia Wars and Sorority Life). The less Facebook knows about you, the better.

Set your privacy settings: If you haven’t done this yet, DO IT NOW. Don’t assume that Facebook (or any online tool, for that matter) is going to protect your privacy by default. When you set up a new profile on any site or service, check the privacy settings and the privacy policy. It just makes good sense.

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2 Responses to Why Can’t I Quit You, Facebook?

  1. Davina Gould says:

    My sentiments exactly. If I could quit, I would, but I can’t, so I’ve done everything you recommend here. Since we can’t participate in Quit Facebook Day on May 31, I’m participating in Facebook Protest day on June 6 by abstaining from Facebook in all its forms (website, mobile, FB Connect, liking sites, etc.) for the day. The organizers have a great Twitter feed with FB privacy news @FacebookProtest.

  2. Elizabeth Allen says:

    Thanks for your thoughts and the resources, Davina.

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